Wednesday 24 March 2021

Book ~ "Homes: A Refugee Story" (2018) Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung

From Goodreads ~ In 2010, the al Rabeeah family left their home in Iraq in hope of a safer life. They moved to Homs, in Syria - just before the Syrian civil war broke out.

Abu Bakr, one of eight children, was ten years old when the violence began on the streets around him: car bombings, attacks on his mosque and school, firebombs late at night. Homes tells of the strange juxtapositions of growing up in a war zone: horrific, unimaginable events punctuated by normalcy - soccer, cousins, video games, friends.

Homes is the remarkable true story of how a young boy emerged from a war zone - and found safety in Canada - with a passion for sharing his story and telling the world what is truly happening in Syria. As told to her by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, writer Winnie Yeung has crafted a heartbreaking, hopeful, and urgently necessary book that provides a window into understanding Syria.

In 2010, when Abu Bakr was ten years old, the al Rabeeah family (his parents and seven siblings) left their home in Iraq and moved to Homs, Syria, where his father opened a bakery, hoping for a safer life.  His father wanted to keep the family safe so started contacting the UN on a regular basis hoping to emigrate anywhere.  After a few years, their refugee applications were finally accepted and they left everything and everyone they knew and were moved to Edmonton, Alberta.

The family spoke no English and were all provided with English lessons.  Winnie Yeung was Abu Bakr's ESL teacher and one day she asked him what he wished for.  He said he wanted others to know his story ... and the product of that wish is this book.

I don't know a lot about politics so this book was an interesting eye-opener about what is happening on the other side of the world.  Though people are afraid, bombings and hearing guns going off were a fact of life there, they still carried on as "normal" as possible.

I liked the writing style.  It is written in first person perspective in Abu Bakr's voice and it's amazing and scary what he (and his family) went through on a daily basis.  Because story starts when he is a child (he's in his teens now), it would be an appropriate book for a young teen and older to read.

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